From the Anime Club to the Yarn Cafe (knitting and crochet), student clubs are an important part of life at FIT. One popular club is Runway27, which imagines, plans, and produces an immersive fashion show. Founded by Fashion Business Management Professor Lori Massaro in 2013 with 25 students, the club now has 150 student members hailing from many different majors. Runway27 members come up with the theme, source the garments and accessories, do hair and makeup, secure sponsors, design the set, capture video and photo content, and market the event to the FIT community—all while navigating a busy curriculum and their own social lives.
This year’s high energy show, Synergy, held Nov. 16 in the Haft Theater, was told through the four elements of life: air, earth, fire, and water. The four elements were demonstrated in the garments, colors, and textures in this year’s show and were presented by an exciting cast of ethnically diverse and body-inclusive models, who are also FIT students. The makeup featured beautiful eye adornments to signal which element they represented. Even the pre-show mocktails matched the evening’s theme.
The runway fashions were a mix of current designs by alums—including Mariah Does Hooke, Yannah Jones, and Avery Jeon, all Fashion Design BFA ’23—along with pieces drawn from retail brands such as Acne Studios, Echo, Retrofete, Nina New York, and True Love Accessories, among many others. The elements came to life with light, airy fabrics for water and air; sheer, chunky knits for earth; and brightly colored and metallic materials representing fire.
Among the guests in the capacity crowd were FIT President Joyce F. Brown, Museum at FIT Director Valerie Steele, club advisor and Financial Aid Services special programs coordinator Susan Grassi, and founding advisor Massaro.
“I started Runway27 because I wanted to create an opportunity for students of different disciplines to work together in a collaborative and creative fashion project,” Massaro said.
“I also wanted to create a fashion event that would generate some old-fashioned school spirit and get the students excited,” she added. “Traditional college campuses have homecoming games and dances; FIT has a glamorous fashion show where students from across every major get to be a part of something really big!”
When the show concluded, Runway27’s executive board members—President Yena Kwon, Advertising and Marketing Communications BS ’24; Vice President Milena Abramova, Fashion Business Management BS ’24; Treasurer Marisa Rifici, Advertising and Marketing Communications BS ’25; and Secretary Max Balderas, Photography and Related Media BFA ’25—came onstage to thank everyone and expressed their gratitude and pride for having the space, the support, and vision to execute a show that truly represented their generation. They presented bouquets of flowers to Dr. Brown, Massaro, Grassi, and Student Life program coordinator Jordan Pappas.